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Human Resources

Social Networking Sites and Personal Internet Presence - Guidance for Durham University Staff


The purpose of this guidance is to protect the reputation of employees of Durham University and the University as a whole from abuse via staff usage of social networking and personal internet sites. The University recognises that such sites are increasingly useful communication tools and acknowledges the right of staff to freedom of expression. However, staff must be aware of the potential legal implications of material which could be considered abusive or defamatory.


This guidance applies to social networking sites, personal web pages, personal space provided by internet providers and internet presence including blogs such as Facebook, MySpace and Web2, which make available personal views to the general public. It does not apply to web pages hosted by Durham University which are covered by separate guidance at:


  • If you already make reference to your employment at Durham University on a personal internet site as defined above, or you intend to create such a site, you should inform your manager.
  • Use a disclaimer such as "the views contained in these web pages are my personal views and do not represent the views of Durham University".
  • Do not use the University's logo on personal web pages.
  • Avoid bringing the University or its staff into disrepute and do not use your site to attack or abuse colleagues or students of the University - consult your manager if you unsure whether the content is appropriate.
  • Do not reveal information which is confidential to the University - consult your manager if you are unsure.
  • Do not include contact details or photographs of staff without their permission.
  • If you receive press or media contact regarding the content of your site which relates to Durham University, consult the Media Relations Manager in the Development and Communications Office.
  • The use of social networking sites does not form part of the University's recruitment process.
  • The University reserves the right to take action under the Disciplinary Procedure if necessary, which is available at

This guidance should be read in conunction with the University's IT regulations and Code of Conduct on the use of ITS public facilities which are available at: